• Saturday, December 20, 2014

Freedom in the air

Int’l police get access to MH17 crash site

Agencies
A woman takes a photograph of wreckage at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. Photo: Reuters
A woman takes a photograph of wreckage at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. Photo: Reuters

Malaysia's Prime Minister said on Sunday that an agreement had been reached with separatists in Ukraine to give international police access to the site where a Malaysian plane was downed and enable investigators to determine why the aircraft crashed, reports Reuters.

A statement issued by Najib Razak's office said the agreement with separatist leader Aleksander Borodai would "provide protection for international crash investigators" to recover human remains and ascertain the cause of the crash.

"I hope that this agreement with Mr Borodai will ensure security on the ground so the international investigators can conduct their work," Najib said in the statement.

Meanwhile, Dutch experts have cancelled plans to head to the site of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine, international officials say according to a BBC report.

Fighting between pro-Russia separatists and government troops in the area has prevented access to the site, they add.

Earlier, Malaysia said it had struck a deal with the rebels to allow international police at the site.

MH17 crashed on 17 July, killing all 298 people on board. The rebels have been accused of shooting it down.

Russia has suggested the plane could have been shot down by the Ukrainian military - an allegation Ukraine denies.

'Unacceptable risk'

The investigators, who are currently in Donetsk, have struggled to gain access to the rebel-controlled crash site.

"There is fighting going on. We can't take the risk," said Alexander Hug, of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

"The security situation on the way to the site and on the site itself is unacceptable for our unarmed observer mission," he added.

The eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk have been gripped by heavy fighting as government forces try to retake rebel strongholds.

In the latest fighting in Donetsk, at least 13 civilians were reported to have been killed in Horlivka, north of the regional capital, as troops try to seize the town.

Shelling was also reported close to the MH17 crash site, near the town of Grabove, on Sunday.

Published: 3:13 pm Sunday, July 27, 2014

Last modified: 8:11 pm Sunday, July 27, 2014

TAGS: Ukraine Malaysia Kuala Lumpur MH17

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